What Should You Look For In a Good Periodontist?

Posted by David Snape on

A periodontist is a dentist with specialized training in gum health and gum disease. They have additional training and specialized skill sets for saving teeth and restoring lost gum tissue when compared to a general dentist.

They most often have the additional moniker after their names:  P.A .   For example, Dr. Whitaker, DDS, PA.

If you have a problem with your gums, you’ll want to be under the care of a professional and the most qualified is likely to be a periodontist. If you have any loose adult teeth, this is the kind of specialist you want.

By the way, if you do have any loose adult teeth, this is more or less an urgent situation and you need to get help right away.  Again, you’ll want to seek a periodontist over a general dentist.  The skill set is more specialized for this type of problem.

Some things to be concerned about when choosing a periodontist

Unfortunately, in today’s world it is ‘buyer’ or in this case, ‘patient’ beware!   Periodontists have a pretty cool skill set for saving loose teeth.  They have multiple procedures and options at their disposal.   One interesting one is Emdogain. That’s just one example, they have a large bag of tricks to work from.

The number one cause of tooth loss is gum disease and this is what periodontists concern themselves with:  The health and disease of gum tissue.

However, there is a disturbing phenomenon that you need to be aware of when seeking out a periodontist.   Keep in mind that your own, natural teeth, are far superior to anything artificial, including implants.   Many periodontists today, while they have the skillset to save loose teeth may often choose to pull the tooth and install an implant.  There may or may not be economic reasons for this.  It also might be the ‘easy’ route to take.

I’m not suggesting that every periodontist or dentist is going to bend in that direction.  What I am saying is that you need to be aware that some do.   This means that you need to ask a lot of questions and be somewhat forceful in that you want your teeth saved and not extracted.  Of course, there may be times when this may not be possible.

This will be hard for you to be sure about from a layman’s perspective.  Your best option is to get multiple opinions from different periodontists who don’t associate with one another.   Is that a pain and potentially costly to do?   You bet it is.  But saving your own natural teeth, I would argue, is worth the expense and the hassle.

Again, your own natural teeth are superior to any artificial replacement.  Implants can bring their own set of problems.  Sometimes, they don’t work out and have to be redone.  They are costly.  They might cause you other troubles too.   This is essentially a metal screw placed into your jaw with an end that looks like a natural tooth – or as close as they can get it to look like one.

I wrote this post to let you know that you may have to look for a good periodontist that is willing to work on saving your teeth rather than pulling and implanting.   You might have to visit several.  You can certainly tell them what you want and don’t want.  They will let you know what their ‘opinion’ is.  You have the option to seek out more ‘opinions’ from other doctors if you don’t like what you hear.   This is an important point to keep in mind when dealing with any medical or dental practitioners or any other professionals, in any field for that matter.

Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss bar none.  Unfortunately, many dental professionals will tell you that around 75% of people have gum disease right now, whether they know it or not.  Some quote slightly higher statistics and some lower.  It depends on who you talk to.  But the number of people who have gum disease, whether they know it or not, is not a small number of the population.

It’s worth it to learn about this problem.  What are the odds that you or someone in your family may need to know more?  I wrote a book on gum disease called:  What You Should Know About Gum Disease.  The Layman’s Guide to Fighting Gum Disease     

One of the most powerful tools that I have found helpful to use is this one.  

However, if you have a loose adult tooth, you should not pass go and you should go directly to a periodontist – like yesterday.   Seriously,  it’s an urgent situation.

If you don’t have a loose tooth but are concerned about gum disease then the above resources may be helpful to you.   Yet, you should always be under the care of a qualified professional periodontist or dentist if you have or think you might have gum disease or any other dental health issues.



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